Mbalula is rarin’ to get the cops go­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - MAY­I­BONGWE MAQHINA

PO­LICE Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula gave a glimpse of his ex­pe­ri­ence in his new role and also shed more light on what he wants done in the po­lice ser­vice.

He briefed the me­dia on Thurs­day, fol­low­ing the court ap­pear­ance of Deputy Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Mduduzi Manana for al­legedly as­sault­ing a woman at a night­club in Johannesburg.

Mbalula took over from for­mer min­is­ter Nkosi­nathi Nh­leko, who was shifted to Pub­lic Works, a post pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by Sports and Re­cre­ation Min­is­ter Thu­las Nx­esi, af­ter Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma reshuf­fled the cab­i­net in March.

Mbalula is no stranger to the po­lice min­istry. He pre­vi­ously served as a deputy min­is­ter to then-min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa be­fore he be­came a full min­is­ter for sports and re­cre­ation.

Re­call­ing his stint in his pre­vi­ous post, the “Min­is­ter of Twit­ter” said safety had not been his pre­oc­cu­pa­tion.

“No­body came to talk about is­sues of safety. I spoke to Floyd May­weather and about other im­por­tant is­sues,” he said.

“It was nice, I must say. Equally, this one it is about serv­ing. I will do it to the best of my abil­ity,” Mbalula said.

“Peo­ple re­port their things, the sit­u­a­tion they are in and their dif­fi­cul­ties. We at­tend to these is­sues,” he said.

Mbalula told of how cases were brought to his at­ten­tion through Twit­ter and calls by pri­vate cit­i­zens for him to spring into ac­tion.

“When a case is brought to my at­ten­tion, I don’t turn a blind eye. I fol­low up on it. I see that it is at­tended to. If it is not, I ask why not?”

He claimed to have helped more than 5 000 young women, on the run from part­ners, who con­tacted him via Twit­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to Mbalula, it was not sup­posed to be like that. “It means there is some­thing wrong in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice at po­lice sta­tions. You can’t have a per­son re­port abuse more than five times and, as po­lice, you don’t take their con­cerns se­ri­ously.”

He told of a case he was alerted to where po­lice in Alexan­dra, Gaut­eng, had not ef­fected an ar­rest when a woman was killed by a per­pe­tra­tor – even though it was known where he was hid­ing.

In an­other case of negligence, Mbalula told of a call from a man whose sis­ter had been raped. He com­plained that the case had not been at­tended to by the po­lice in the Eastern Cape.

“Not all po­lice sta­tions will do what I call is polic­ing. They ne­glect their du­ties,” he said.

Mbalula said if cases were re­ported to him, it was an in­di­ca­tion that they were “gen­uine cases”.

“It means, in my sys­tem, there are cases that are re­ported and ne­glected by po­lice for one rea­son or the other. We need to ad­dress that as we un­der­take cam­paigns against gen­der­based vi­o­lence,” he said.

He in­sisted that the po­lice should not be told what to do. “They must do their job.” Mbalula re­vealed he was work­ing on mech­a­nisms that would “re­freshen” the 10111 call cen­tre in the fight against crime to make it easy for cit­i­zens to re­port crime with­out fear or favour.

“I re­alised there are no prank calls on Twit­ter when peo­ple re­port these things,” he said.

Mbalula did not make any bones about giv­ing in­struc­tions to the po­lice and be­ing lec­tured at times.

“I in­struct po­lice ev­ery day, it is my job. For var­i­ous rea­sons, some lis­ten and oth­ers not – but I have never given them il­le­gal in­struc­tions,” he said.

PICTURE: BON­GANI SHILUBANE

Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula briefs mem­bers of the me­dia be­fore he meets with the lead­er­ship of the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate (Ipid) Robert McBride at the SAPS head of­fice in Pre­to­ria.

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